Getting a new product out on Clickbank is always a moment of supreme optimism. What we envision is getting a product out there on the marketplace that truly takes it by storm and is one of those big sellers people write books about. And there is no reason to believe that any one product on Clickbank might just get there.
It’s good to go into this kind of situation with your eyes wide open though and be aware that one thing can put a monkey wrench into the best marketing plan for a product. And that is the Clickbank refund policy. Now a good refund policy has to be at the very heart of a marketplace like Clickbank so people can buy with confidence knowing they can get a refund if the time comes. And since Clickbank is a full-fledged merchant account in its own right, it can handle refunds directly.
Unfortunately, a refund policy that is ironclad is also an open door for people trying to scam the system. Even for the best of products with a huge army of happy and satisfied customers, you will be asked for a refund from time to time. That is to be expected. But when what is happening is someone is trying to get your product for free milking the refund policy from Clickbank, that’s just wrong.
The Clickbank extensive tracking system tells us that five percent of sales in their marketplace come back as refund requests. When you give a buyer a refund, you might hear any sort of complaint. Some of them are legitimate and others are bizarre. And others just won’t offer an explanation for why they want the refund. For many of these refund requests, the odds are you are dealing with an unethical buyer.
The problem is that all of ClickBank’s products are digital products. That means your e-book, your software product, or your music can be downloaded and paid for and then the buyer can ask for a refund, no questions asked. And because the product is digital, it’s pretty silly to ask for the product back as they have a copy on their computer and perhaps copied to other computers. You can paint it like you want, it’s just plain theft no matter how you cut it.
This is a tough problem to solve. Even if the entire Clickbank community is banned together to fight the problem, the only possible solution is pretty weak. A reference system could be created that recorded users who were habitual customers of the refund policy. Then if that reference system actually worked, you could conceivably refuse service to a refund policy abuser who had been “busted”. But this is a system fraught with holes at best. A refund abuser is intestinally stealing products so they are going to be one step ahead of your tracking list. It simply is not that hard to come back into Clickbank as a customer with a new ID and new credit and your tracking system is out the window.
It would be nice to come to the end of our discussion with an announcement that the problem has been solved. But that is not the case yet. Clickbank is aware of the problem and is putting time and effort into it. But for now, we will have to wait until Clickbank comes up with a solution. But it’s still worth supporting a strong refund policy because that is what makes Clickbank a solid marketplace. And if you do have to entire a 5% refund but keep 95% of the sales Clickbank delivers to you, that still is not too shabby.